“You will never walk alone. In the shelter of each other we will live…”
Jars of Clay, ‘Shelter’
This past weekend was awesome. I headed down to Detroit mid-afternoon on Friday for a costume fitting, which was followed almost immediately by a friend’s birthday in Ferndale where I was finally able to meet her husband and adorable boys. The brownie sundaes were pretty tasty as well.
Those two things would have been cool on their own, but Saturday I had the opportunity to meet a really great group of people through two Detroit-centric events – Photowalk Detroit and the Epic Tweetup.
I’ll admit it. I was slightly nervous about Saturday. The photowalk came first and I had exchanged a grand total of one tweet with someone I had never met in real life to get more information about it. It was, however, an opportunity I couldn’t resist. For all her fallen grandeur and tarnished reputation, Detroit has its own beauty if you take the time to look. I would say I’m biased by the proximity with which I grew up to her, but we rarely came down to the city when I was a kid.
I won’t deny that Detroit has its problems. There are homeless and jobless.
Beautiful buildings allowed to fall into disrepair.
That’s the part of the city so often seen in the news, but in the course of our walk we encountered people in the midst of their lives. It actually started with this bride’s arrival at the church kitty corner to our gathering place – the first of four wedding parties we encountered.
There were also families getting an early dinner.
Children playing under the watchful eye of their parents at the waterfront.
Art – inside, outside and on the side of buildings.
The most important thing to be found, though, was the spirit of the people who want to see Detroit thrive again. They were out on that photowalk with me.
They also gathered that night at the Magic Stick for the Epic Tweetup, a celebration of Team Detroit’s winning the SXSW Chevy Roadtrip Challenge earlier this year.
Yes, it was a big party and there were a number of people feeling that the next day, but it was more than that. Somewhere around 500 people gathered from Detroit and beyond for this celebration. Introductions were made. Friendships were started. Business cards may not have made their way out of people’s purses and pockets much, but connections were made that are already being strengthened. There’s a magic in that.
For myself, I’m really glad I was able to be there and a part of it. I met some awesome people and I look forward to seeing them again and where all of this leads.
You don’t have to believe me alone about all of this amazingness. Here are some links if you’d like to see and read more about last weekend’s events.